This in-class group activity provides several examples of varying difficulty for students to assign MLXZ classifications and electron counts to organometallic complexes. Though some of the problems are straightforward, some are really ambiguous, and the intent is for student groups to grapple with the issues raised by each one and present their findings to the class to spark further discussion.
* Students should be able to use the covalent bond classification method to assign MLXZ classifications to a variety of organometallic complexes.
* Students should be able to defend their assignments using both organic and inorganic views of structure and bonding.
* Students will understand the ambiguities associated with assigning bond orders, valencies, oxidation states, etc., with the hope that their understanding of covalently bonded organometallic systems will become more nuanced.
I split students into groups of 3-4, as noted in the handout. Each group was assigned one or two problems that they would need to present to the rest of the class, but all groups were encouraged to work on all of the problems to facilitate discussion later on.
After about 15 minutes, I had the student groups present and encouraged questions and challenges to their assignments. We had in-depth discussions of problems 8 and 9, which are clearly the most ambiguous.